[New to our exegesis of John’s Gospel? Try starting at The Beginning — see top menu for John 1:1-2].
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
29 Τῇ ἐπαύριον βλέπει τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐρχόμενον πρὸς αὐτόν, καὶ λέγει· Ἴδε ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ αἴρων τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου. 30 οὗτός ἐστιν ὑπὲρ οὗ ἐγὼ εἶπον· Ὀπίσω μου ἔρχεται ἀνὴρ ὃς ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν, ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν· 31 κἀγὼ οὐκ ᾔδειν αὐτόν, ἀλλ’ ἵνα φανερωθῇ τῷ Ἰσραὴλ διὰ τοῦτο ἦλθον ἐγὼ ἐν ὕδατι βαπτίζων. 32 καὶ ἐμαρτύρησεν Ἰωάννης λέγων ὅτι Τεθέαμαι τὸ πνεῦμα καταβαῖνον ὡς περιστερὰν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ ἔμεινεν ἐπ’ αὐτόν· 33 κἀγὼ οὐκ ᾔδειν αὐτόν, ἀλλ’ ὁ πέμψας με βαπτίζειν ἐν ὕδατι ἐκεῖνός μοι εἶπεν· Ἐφ’ ὃν ἂν ἴδῃς τὸ πνεῦμα καταβαῖνον καὶ μένον ἐπ’ αὐτόν, οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ βαπτίζων ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ· 34 κἀγὼ ἑώρακα, καὶ μεμαρτύρηκα ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἐκλεκτὸς τοῦ θεοῦ.
To Whom Do I Belong?
Over the centuries, there have been those called Adoptionists who believe Jesus was “adopted” by God and made the Son of God when the Spirit came upon him. However, this interpretation doesn’t fit John’s Gospel with his emphasis that Jesus is the pre-existent logos. The text doesn’t appear to be about how Jesus became God; rather, how John the Baptist identified Him as The One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. The Baptist saw the Spirit upon Jesus, and thereby identified Him as Son of God. Both the title Son of God and the sign of the Spirit upon him are indicators that Jesus is indeed Messiah of God as in Is. 42:1 — a reading from the second book of Isaiah, the Songs of the Servant which we’ve discussed previously as scriptures connected to Messianic expectations.
It’s really quite remarkable the identifications associated with Jesus in this short passage (combining last week’s post with this one). First, Jesus is Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world; he ranks above John, meaning he came before him as the Pre-existent One; he is the Expected One upon whom the Spirit falls according to several Old Testament passages including the one mentioned above; and he is Son of God. John’s prologue is masterful, introducing us to the major themes that will unfold as we go.
Back to the Adoptionists: while their view of Jesus doesn’t seem to mesh with the Gospels, it is true for us. When we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit, the heavens are torn open (Mk. 1:10), and God speaks, YOU (your name here) are my beloved in whom I am well pleased!, and the Spirit falls upon YOU, anointing you, taking lodge within you, adopting you as God’s own, declaring you Child of God! You belong to God as God’s own.
And no one, No One, NO ONE!!!…can take that away from you!